The fuss over Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky wanting to deflect complaints elsewhere should be a reminder of the big problems on the public transport network — which some would argue those in power are trying to avoid hearing about.
As it happens my commute home that night was a dream. From work to the front door in 39 minutes, aided by trains that were on time to the minute, they were inadvertently scheduled in such a way that allowed me to avoid going around the loop, I scheduled my trip right on time, and my fast walking pace. For me, that has to be some kind of rush hour speed record.
Why isn’t it always like this?
Because the trains often don’t run on time — to the extent that they’ve failed to meet their targets for the last three consecutive months.
Because almost all PT services run too infrequently. It’s not like some cities where you can enter a station platform without checking a timetable, and expect to be on a train and on your way within a few minutes, at any time of day.
Because so many places (even in a big, reasonably densely-populated city like Melbourne) simply don’t have PT services that are anywhere close to time-competitive with driving. (Don’t for one minute think I didn’t specifically plan to live walking distance from a railway station.)
Because many suburbs are designed to be unfriendly to pedestrians, having roads which make pedestrians wait inordinate amounts of time to cross.
Fix some of these things, and the dominance of the motor car, and all the nasties that come with it (pollution, emissions, obesity, road toll, dependence on foreign oil) will start to wane.